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Dec 3, 2007 05:03 PM

Latkes 101: Removing Excess Liquid [Moved from Kosher board]

What's the best way to remove the excess liquid from the grated potatoes? Is it enough to put the grated potatoes into a large strainer and let the liquid drip out? Do the grated potatoes need to be wrapped in a towel and squeezed? Is there an even better way to do this?

Also, I think I remember that after draining the liquid, my Bubbie would spill the liquid out of the bowl and then she'd scrape the starch that was at the bottom of the bowl out and put it back in with the potatoes. Does anyone do this, and, if so, how does this help the latkes?

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  1. Your Bubbie had a great idea; never thought of adding the potato starch back in; couldn't hurt as a thickener preventing watery latkes. I usually just take a small handful of grated potatoes and squeeze-seems to get enough water out of them. Towel would do the trick as well. Will try Bubbie's method next time.

    2 Replies
    1. re: markabauman

      I parboil the potatoes before grating them--avoids the issue of them turning reddish/grey and also the phenomenon of tasting slightly raw after being fried. And, don't draw liquid after grating, either. I highly recommend this approach. Here's the recipe I (sort of) follow:

      1. re: Marion Morgenthal

        Latkes don't taste raw if they're fried properly. The biggest mistake people make in making latkes is frying them over too high heat, so the outsides burn before the insides are completely cooked. The burners should be no more than medium-high for frying latkes.

    2. I have heard of that technique of draining the liquid, and incorportating the leftover starch into the batter.
      We never squeeze out the liquid in a towel, or even strain the potatoes in a strainer - and our latkes have never been liquidy or mushy. We just pour out as much liquid as we easily can, from the bowl of mixed batter (shredded potato, egg, matzo meal, and grated onion). As I wrote in the other "Latkes 101" thread, I think (though I may be wrong) that the concern about wateriness comes in more when you grate your potatoes more finely. We shred the potatoes, and find that that consistency makes latkes that are nice and crispy on the outside, while still soft on the inside.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Bzdhkap

        I also shred the potatoes, but I always thought that removing the liquid was a necessary part of the process.

        1. re: CindyJ

          I make latkes all the time (not only at Hannukah), and I never strain the liquid out, so it's certainly not necessary. I probably use a little more flour and egg than people who strain the liquids do, though. I personally think that squeezing all the liquid overworks the potatoes and makes them gummier, but that's JMHO. People always rave about my latkes, so I must be doing something right!

      2. Drain the grated potatoes in a strainer or colander that's set over a bowl; press down on them for improved drainage. I'm always amazed to see the potato starch magically appear at the bottom of the bowl after the potato effluent is poured off. By all means re-incorporate the starch in the mix.

        1. Use a potato ricer to squeeze the water out.

          1 Reply
          1. jfood has always used the back of a spoon pressing down on the strainer method, and he never collected the starch, but a nice idea from the Bubbie (man were they good).

            This year he is think of using the vegetable spinner. Has anyone tried that or will jfood be using those famous words "Doggie, clean up on aisle 2" for the avatar to come in and help.

            6 Replies
            1. re: jfood

              Not enought force with the spinner.

              1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                Drats, seemed like such a good idea and more simpler. How come you scientist types are always right?

                1. re: jfood

                  I tried the spinner. Just got rid of the surface water but didn't squeeze anything out. I learned about using a ricer here on CH. Works.

                  1. re: Sam Fujisaka


                    So you grate the taters and then you squeeze in the ricer. And the potato ricer you refer to is the one that looks like a big garlic press versus the one that you turn the handle and the potatoes gets "riced" underneath, correct?

              2. re: jfood

                This is OT, but, I work in a lab, and think a lot about lab equipment that would be really useful in a kitchen (like those heated stir plates!) and I always thought that a centrifuge would be a useful kitchen device...but I guess people have been using them in the form of salad spinners for years.

                Just thinking out loud...